Managing business expenses at your insurance agency is complex during a typical year. However, bring a pandemic into the mix and your business becomes a lot more complex. During this time, insurance agencies are dealing with a need to be physically distant from clients, yet your business may also be working with clients with sudden and urgent needs to change coverage. How can you more easily manage expenses at your agency during this challenging time?
Maintain Workplace Conversations About Spending Priorities
Even if you are all working from home, it's important to have workplace conversations about marketing, client communication, and purchasing priorities. It's possible that your business focus and priorities have shifted somewhat due to COVID-19. Make sure that you're making financial decisions as a team in accordance with your overall priorities. Everyone on your insurance team needs to know whether or not to spend on that budget item or delay it as it's no longer a priority. This helps you avoid committing to expenses that are no longer a priority for the agency.
Reconsider Expenses For Your Physical Workspace
As social isolation continues, your insurance clients will generally reach you via the phone, email, or text message. This is the time to reconsider investments in your physical workspace, such as new equipment, renovations, or even copier paper. Instead, look to cloud-based data storage and communication solutions that allow your team to interact remotely. You may even discover that you don't need a larger physical office space, and this could lead to the opportunity to downsize your physical space in favor of flex work or work from home jobs.
Maintain your staffing in a flexible way to avoid hiring costs.
Provide a Safe, Flexible Work Environment
Competent employees make your workday easier. They're better at managing clients, and they know exactly how to manage client files. Maintaining your workforce during the pandemic is key to the efficiency of your insurance agency. According to Toggl, "small business owners spend around 40% of their working hours on tasks that do not generate income, such as hiring." Right now, you can't afford the time or the money to begin the hiring process. During this time, you can:
Allow employees to be as flexible as possible during the work that they do from home. While they still need to do work, they may also need to help children with schoolwork or be a caretaker for the elderly. Consider reducing or flexing employees' work hours so that you can maintain your trained employees.
Keeping your employees safe and healthy will reduce hiring and training costs. You may need to have one or more people in the office, but if you have access to client files on a cloud-based system, consider ways you could all work from home.
Prioritize Customer Care
According to the Houston Chronicle , "the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you're doing less than $5 million a year in sales." However, sending out flyers, advertising on Google ads, or revising your website is probably not on the menu when the world is in crisis. Now is not the time for traditional marketing.
While you may not need to spend money on advertising, you do need to spend that time on customer care. To ensure that longevity of your insurance business, you need to prioritize communication, calm, and clarity during this challenging time. For instance, you could create a FAQ or an email with typical client questions so that you can proactively address their concerns, saving your clients time and stress. You might not need to use all of your marketing budget in your traditional advertising categories, but save some of these funds to create new and needed client materials.
At American Agents Alliance, we're here to help your insurance agency through all of the changes that you experience during your business development. Turn to us for membership resources and membership benefits that will help your insurance agency thrive.